J. Mailey: Health care is not welfare

In a perfect world everyone would be healthy and accident free, thereby eliminating the need for health insurance. But we’re not in a perfect world and having health insurance is crucial.

History has taught us that insurance is a benefit given to those who deserve it. So, who does not deserve to have access to health care? The homeless, the single mom or dad who is out of work due to downsizing, a person who is struggling to secure employment but cannot because of mental illness, or perhaps those who are not yet retired but too sick to work, or a working person making minimum wage?

Perhaps, if we looked at health care as a right that all Americans should have, we wouldn’t have to search for answers or excuses to justify having so many folks without basic health care.

The decision not to expand MaineCare was short-sighted and foolhardy. Not only will Mainers who cannot afford health care go without, but Maine will lose hundreds of millions of dollars which would be used to help fund MaineCare.

It’s sad to know that for those who are at or below poverty level will lose their coverage because of the veto of the MaineCare expansion and won’t get the health care they deserve.

The expansion of MaineCare would be a step in the right direction in reducing the number of uninsured, getting folks the care they need, and making our communities healthier.

And remember, health care is not welfare.

Joseph Mailey, Lewiston

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Comments

Jim Cyr's picture

Mr. Mailey,

Health care is welfare when my family have to sacrifice our precious resources to help those" less fortunate "? We are having our own difficulties, especially helping those that can otherwise help themselves. Those below the so called poverty line, nearly 47 million, already have access to health care. More so then those working for a living. So who does not have access to health care ?Communities can only become healthier by self reliance. The nanny state can only keep us all "Down ".

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Where do unpaid medical bills come from?????

I couldn't agree more with this letter. I have a question for all those intent on beleiving that MaineCare is out of control now. Would continuing down the same road we're on make anything better? MaineCare isn't so much out of control as it is mismanaged. For years wrong decisions were made to create the turmoil we have witnessed today. Continuing the same poor management, allowing thousands of people to seek insufficient medical treatment in Emergency Rooms, thus costing hospitals millions, can't be the right fix. By denying health insurance to those thousands of patients will just continue the same cycle of confusion surrounding MaineCare.
Allowing everyone the access to health insurance will solve numerous problems, what ever plan we use. We have to take that first step.........

MICHAEL LEBLANC's picture

Huh?

History has taught us that insurance is a benefit given to those who deserve it.

I have deserved car insurance since I got my learner's permit. My parents gave me that benefit and paid dearly for it - as I have ever since. No government gave it to me.

I have deserved house insurance since buying my first and no government has ever helped me with so much as a dime.

But when the subject turns to health insurance, all rationality goes right down the toilet and you get very vocal hordes claiming that our beneficent government can magically transform something of value (health care) into a freebie to be handed out willy-nilly to everyone who deserves it.

I suggest a new history book, one not published by the DNC.

RONALD RIML's picture

I have to agree with Mike on one point here......

"But when the subject turns to health insurance, all rationality goes right down the toilet" - And that's exactly where health insurance needs to go - Down the Toilet!!

Universal Health Coverage is the point, not "Insurance" - Most "1st World" civilized countries have it - the U.S. doesn't.

What is universal health coverage?

MICHAEL LEBLANC's picture

I'm glad Riml agrees that ...

... Obamacare is irrational, pointless and should be flushed. From the very start, it was designed to fail and to fail expensively, but the authors and promoters don't have the political honesty to tell us what they're really aiming at. They have to put everyone through a needless national bankruptcy so that the desperate, adoring masses will demand action from their lord and savior, Empress Kathleen I.

Those civilized countries Ron idolizes tried to annihilate everyone twice in the previous century, and they called US to bail them out both times. Next time the answer will be: Sorry, fellas, we're spending all our wealth on universal health care. You're on your own.

RONALD RIML's picture

Actually, Mike - they're NOT spending all their wealth

on universal health care. We're the dumb shits who are spending a higher percentage of our GDP on a 'For Profit' system - and you are so "Information Devoid" that you don't realize that we are spending more of our wealth on a system that's no better than the others.

I hate to expose you as a Fumb Duck - but here it is in graph form to make it easy for you to digest.


Noel Foss's picture

While I certainly agree that our current system sucks

What makes it so inefficient is the "For Profit" part.
The ACA isn't going to change that; it's just shifting the costs around. Healthcare will still be for profit, so the people who are believed "able to pay" will pay more, to cover the people who can't.
As an example I've brought up before, my health insurance costs have nearly tripled since the ACA was passed into law, by health insurance companies that are preparing for the financial burden of having to insure everybody, regardless of preexisting conditions. I have coworkers who have paid over $6000 already this year (with another full quarter left to go) for their family healthcare plans through the company. A couple of years ago the same coverage cost them roughly $3500 for a full year. Nothing has changed; we still have roughly the same # of employees, we're with the same insurance company.

While a wholeheartedly agree that our current system is in desperate need of an overhaul, I can't help but feel that the ACA is most assuredly NOT the solution so many people are claiming it to be.

Also, the profanity's a bit much.

RONALD RIML's picture

An immutable fact of Physiks......

Insurance goes up every year........Yet Americans still demand 'Insurance' - rather than 'Health Care'

Fumbly ducklies get what they deserve......

Noel Foss's picture

yes, the cost of insurance goes up every year...

but not 300% over three years. And not after remaining mostly stable for nearly 10.
That's politician's math, that is.

And actually, last I checked, it was the medical providers who were demanding Insurance. Every time an American visits them and demands Healthcare, in fact.

MICHAEL LEBLANC's picture

Are you Patti's grandfather?

Is that why you get away with your juvenile language? I suppose we all could do it, given the lack of oversight, but you're the only one who regularly does.

You still are avoiding the issue, in spite of all your charts and graphs. Why are we going through the pain of Obamacare, since the ultimate aim is UHC? Demand that your political leaders tell us what they're really trying to accomplish, instead of this pointless, expensive, shuck-n-jive.

I'll try a language you'll appreciate, given your recent pilgrimage to the birthplace: Scheißen Sie im Hut.

RONALD RIML's picture

We're going through the Affordable Health Care Act

Because you don't have the stomach to get rid of Insurance. If you do - then put on your Big Boy Pants and let's go to Universal Health Care as adults......

http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2012/03/29/countries-that-spend-mo...

Many of the countries that spend the most per capita on health care have highly privatized systems. In the U.S. and Switzerland, which spend the most and third-most on health care, respectively, the government pays less than 65% of the total health care costs. In most of the countries in the developed world, public expenditure accounts for at least 70% of total costs.

Many of the countries with the highest expenditure per capita on health care also have among the most government-funded health care systems. The governments of Denmark, Austria and Luxembourg pay 84% or more of the total health care cost. Total public spending in these countries, without accounting for private health care spending, ranges from 6.5% of GDP in Luxembourg to the OECD-high 9.8% of GDP in Denmark. In most of the OECD nations, the government foots the majority of the health care bill.

These are the countries that spend the most on health care.

10. France
> Total expenditure on health per capita: $3,978
> Expenditure as % of GDP: 11.8% (3rd most)
> Annual growth of total health expenditure: +2.7% (18th most)
> Life expectancy: 81.5 years (8th highest)

Health care in France ends up costing about $4,000 per person each year, which is 11.8% of its GDP — the third-highest percentage among OECD nations. The government and insurance providers pay nearly the entire bill as the French’s out-of-pocket expense is rather small. Residents only pay $290 per person a year, or 7.3% of the total health care expenses — the third-least among all 34 OECD nations.

9. Germany
> Total expenditure on health per capita: $4,218
> Expenditure as % of GDP: 11.6% (4th most)
> Annual growth of total health expenditure: +4% (15th most)
> Life expectancy: 80.3 years (18th highest)

Much like France, Germany’s expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP is high among developed nations. The country’s spending habits result in many health benefits that exceed those in other countries. For instance, Germany has among the highest doctors and hospital beds per person in the OECD. The country also has the sixth-highest number of doctor consultations per capita on an annual basis at 8.2, and the fifth-longest average length of hospital stay at 7.5 days.

8. Austria
> Total expenditure on health per capita: $4,298
> Expenditure as % of GDP: 11% (8th most)
> Annual growth of total health expenditure: +2.2%
> Life expectancy: 80.4 years (16th highest)

In Austria, nearly $4,300 is spent per person on each year health care. This is the equivalent of 11% of the country’s GDP. Some 77 percent of the country’s expenses are covered by the public health care system, and so out-of-pocket expenses come to less than $600 per year, nearly $400 less than what the average American spends.

7. Denmark
> Total expenditure on health per capita: $4,348
> Expenditure as % of GDP: 11.5% (6th most)
> Annual growth of total health expenditure: +6% (11th most)
> Life expectancy: 79.0 years (25th highest)

Each year health care costs Denmark $4,348 per capita — the seventh most among developed countries. This large amount is largely covered by the government. In Denmark, 85% of total health expenditure is public, making it the least-privatized health care system in the OECD. While the country has average doctor consultations per capita, it has relatively low rates of hospital beds per capita and the lowest average length of hospital stays.

6. Canada
> Total expenditure on health per capita: $4,478
> Expenditure as % of GDP: 11.3% (7th most)
> Annual growth of total health expenditure: +7.4% (7th most)
> Life expectancy: 80.7 years (tied for 12th highest)

Canada’s health care system costs $4,500 per person each year, the sixth-most among the 34 OECD countries. Between 2008 and 2009, costs increased 7.4%, the seventh-most among developed nations. One of the biggest expenses for the country are hospital stays. The average length of an acute care hospital visit is 7.7 days. Drugs are extremely expensive in the country. Each year, costs of pharmaceuticals come to $743 per person, the second most in the developed world.

5. Luxembourg
> Total expenditure on health per capita: $4,808
> Expenditure as % of GDP: 7.8% (7th least)
> Annual growth of total health expenditure: +8% (6th most)
> Life expectancy: 80.7 years (tied for 12th highest)

Health care expenditure in Luxembourg is $4,808 a year, or 7.8% of national GDP. This is the greatest decrease among OECD countries. Of that, public expenditures account for 84% of the total, the eighth-highest rate among OECD countries. The country’s system faces some difficult challenges in offsetting unhealthy lifestyle choices. For instance, Luxembourg has the highest annual rate of alcohol consumption at 15.5 liters per capita.

4. Netherlands
> Total expenditure on health per capita: $4,914
> Expenditure as % of GDP: 12% (2nd most)
> Annual growth of total health expenditure: +16.4% (the most)
> Life expectancy: 80.6 years (14th highest)

Health care costs in the Netherlands amount to $4,914 per person each year. The Dutch health expenditure is equivalent to 12% of the nation’s GDP — the second greatest relative health expenditure of every nation in the OECD except the U.S. Total expenses jumped by 16.4% between 2008 and 2009, the most among OECD nations. Despite this increase, total out-of-pocket expenses per capita are just $227 per person, the fourth-lowest in the OECD.

3. Switzerland
> Total expenditure on health per capita: $5,344
> Expenditure as % of GDP: 11.6% (5th most)
> Annual growth of total health expenditure: +2.8% (17th most)
> Life expectancy: 82.3 years (2nd highest)

Switzerland currently spends the third most on health care per capita, or the equivalent of 11.6% of the country’s GDP. Switzerland has one of the most privatized health care systems in the world, with 30.9% of expenses coming out of pocket. Because of the wealth of country, this comes to $1,650 per person, more than double every country in the developed world except the U.S.

2. Norway
> Total expenditure on health per capita: $5,352
> Expenditure as % of GDP: 9.6% (16th most)
> Annual growth of total health expenditure: +8.4% (4th most)
> Life expectancy: 81.0 years (10th highest)

After its neighbor, Denmark, Norway has the most nationalized health care system in the developed world. Of the country’s $5,352 expenditures per person, 84.1% are covered by the public sector. Access to health care in the country is high. There are approximately four physicians per 1,000 people, the third most in the OECD. Despite the high percentage of total costs covered by the public, the nation’s residents still pay more than $800 per person on health care.

1. United States
> Total expenditure on health per capita: $7,960
> Expenditure as % of GDP: 17.4% (the most)
> Annual growth of total health expenditure: +2.2% (14th least)
> Life expectancy: 78.2 years (27th highest)

The U.S. has, by far, the highest total expenditure on health care per capita. America spends approximately $2,600 more per person annually than Norway, the second-highest spender. Only 47.7% of this amount is public expenditure — the third-smallest percentage among developed countries. However, the actual amount of public spending, $3,795, is among the highest. The U.S. also spends the largest amount on pharmaceuticals and other medical nondurables. The country has fairly low rates of doctors and hospital beds relative to its population. It also has the eighth-lowest life expectancy, at 78.2 years.

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